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Sharika Jain

IWB Intern

Balancing Profession And Passion: Story Of A Powerlifting Dentist, Dr. Dimple Mehta

  • IWB Post
  •  July 3, 2019

When I first contacted Dr. Dimple Mehta, I caught her in the middle of an intense workout; and another time she was busy at her clinic.

Take a peek inside the conversation with a doctor who does it all. A dental surgeon by profession and a national champion weightlifter by passion.

Which Dimple Mehta would you like the world to know: the dentist, martial arts expert, powerlifter?

I would like the world to know me as a powerlifting dental surgeon. One is my profession, and the other one is my passion. My identity of an empowered woman is glorified by both equally.

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What does your son like to introduce you as?

Well… Even before he introduces me, his friends assume that I am his sibling and actually ask him why his mother never comes to pick him up. And then they are pleasantly surprised when he introduces me as his mother – a doctor as well as a national level gold medalist powerlifter.

Tell us about all the barriers that you had to lift on your journey to become a national level champion.

Barriers were numerous. Powerlifting is an extreme strength sport, and I was never into much of physical activity even in my school time. I was always seen and perceived as a delicate girl. From the point of being obese after my delivery to bring thin again and then fit, it was a tough journey.

There was no mental support from my in-laws. Going about my household work, full-time dental practice and dedicating hours in the gym have been and is always a challenge. Body pain, soreness, mental fatigue are just some of the problems I faced initially. But one attitude made me survive all, and that is NEVER TO GIVE UP.

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Girls choose to stay away from physically intensive routines fearing to get ‘unwomanly’ bodies. What would you tell them?

There are many reasons I believe a woman should try weightlifting. We as women spend thousands of rupees on beauty parlors and clothes but as we age, we find our body getting shapeless and saggy. To keep ourselves looking younger and toned, we need to exercise our muscles. It’s a common myth that woman who weight trains, puts on muscles. This can never happen because we lack the basic hormone required to grow muscles that is testosterone, which is there in men. In fact, our hormones encourage fat deposition needed for childbirth. Secondly, most of the women entering their mid-30s start deleting calcium in their bones and land up with osteoporosis and fractures. With weight training and proper diet, this can be easily avoided. Polycystic ovarian disease (commonly known as PCOD) is so common with young girls nowadays. This is easily corrected by proper weight training and proper diet. Bottom line is weight training can help women maintain a fit body.

It’s quite unfortunate that once a girl is married and becomes a mother, her priority is her family and for the working woman, family and job. Looking after her own health and fitness should be number one priority for any woman since we look after the whole family.

What was the moment when you decided enough is enough and got yourself enrolled to the gym?

I weighed 70 kg post pregnancy and did the crash diet to lose weight as all of us do without realizing its ill effects. When I looked thin enough, somebody suggested I should try to run the Marathon. Thinking that I was at the epitome of fitness, I tried running and found that I could not run continuously even for a couple of minutes. That’s when I realized that I was just thin, but not fit.

Was it difficult to get into a regiment?

Yes, it was. Getting into the proper fitness regime needs a very dedicated approach. Diet needs to be perfect and cheat meals are out. Hard work is constant. Discipline is mandatory. I always tell my clients – one hour of exercise equals to 23 hours of health and freedom. What an awesome bargain!  If you don’t make time for exercise now, you will have to make time for illness later.

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Were there any sexist moments in the gym?

I have been quite fortunate in this aspect. Powerlifting is basically a men’s sport, but I found that everyone including men have always given me tremendous encouragement and respect when I am working out on the floor. They appreciate and even get inspired by the poundage I lift. As one rises up in any field, there are haters as well. If any negative comment comes my way, I thank them because they made me what I am today – stronger than ever before.

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Any advice to manage time more efficiently?

The secret of my time management is prioritizing what is important to me, and the efficiency in executing comes from my high level of fitness. My body is ready for any physical hardship. Meditation gives me the mental energy to push myself beyond yesterday. Spiritual knowledge equips me to keep all negativity out of my mind and focus on what’s in hands.

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(All pictures are from the History Channel’s Video Series on Extraordinary Women.)

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